chris and i went car camping over the weekend. we got together a bunch of blankets, sleeping bags, and my body pillow named tim, and i vacuumed the dog hair out of the back of the station wagon, and bought a box full of snacks and we were ready for an outdoor adventure. we ended up staying in two hotels when we were unable to find a suitable campground or even a place to park. chris really wanted to cook fish in tin foil in a campfire, so that made just parking in a parking lot unacceptable. but all the campgrounds that were open were rv places populated by scary looking people. i did get to take a nap in the nest i had fashioned in the back of the car at a rest stop, while chris read and listened to the waves slosh on the shore. it was the best nap ever! i awoke as scarface, with tim's corduroy print smashed into my face. chris reiterated how much he'd like to cook some fish in some tin foil. "where are we going to get the fish?" i asked him. "safeway," he answered. i groaned. "you know, it's not going to be very fresh if we get it from safeway. don't you think we could find fresher fish? i mean, we're on the goddamnmotherfucking coast." chris laughed and said it was time to go, as i was cursing like a sailor.
at the same rest area, i was sort of coerced into driving the two hours to mount saint helens. i walked into the little info booth to get a map of the area, and the little old lady working in there was chatting away and foisting brochures at someone else. as the person turned to leave, chris' ears pricked up and he caught the info lady's chat vibe and hightailed it back out to the car. so i turned around with a map of some dopey tourist thing to show him, and instead, the chatty lady was standing in front of me, and although she only came up to my boob level, she was still rather intimidating. she asked where we were headed and i said i didn't know and she ran out to her truck to get her binoculars so i could catch a glimpse of the volcano. then she opened some maps and cursed her arthritis and strongly suggested that if we had the time we should drive up there since it was such a beautiful day and all. i wriggled away and found chris in the car, and informed him of the lady's plans for us. so we drove up there. it was chilly and almost the end of the season, and the interpretation center was pretty deserted. we walked up the path to a splendid view of the inside of the crater and listened to the wind do it's slow erosion work. it was pretty silent, and panoramic, and a little scary. i was thinking about the big picture, how little we were and how grand the earth is and mother nature and existentialism and all that crap. i turned to chris and saw a thoughtful expression on his face. then he turned to me and said, "this would be a great place to hide a dead body."
we went hot tubbing in the outdoor area of our second hotel. there was a cover, but it didn't keep out all the leaves and insects. when chris turned on the bubble jets, it was like sitting in a bug frappe.
our last hour or so in astoria, we hit an antique shop for the second time that day. earlier, i had bought a few old circa 1960s photos of a large lady in a nurses uniform standing with a german shepard outfitted with a head bandage. they were expensive, but they are the best pictures ever. chris had seen this patch made "in country" during the vietnam war. pretty vague description of who it belonged to or who made it or what for, but that is neither here nor there. the patch itself is what i want to talk about. it is bad ass. in fact, it is the baddest ass ever. it is bright yellow. it has a skull on it. with wings. black wings. the skull has fangs dripping with blood. the eyes are tilted way upward, to give it an evil glare. there is a dagger jabbed into the top of the bleeding, flying, fanged skull. it looks exactly like what someone in 7th or 8th grade would draw on their book cover or on their algebra notebook. so our second trip to the antique store was for chris to buy the skull patch. the next day we took turns sewing it onto his shoulder bag with thimbles made out of masking tape. his bag looks tough. and bad ass. man, i love that skull patch.